Excessive heat can be very dangerous for our pets. Being aware of the dangers and understanding the signs of heat stroke can help save your pets’ life. Unlike humans, normal body temperature for a cat or dog can be between 101 to 102 degrees Fahrenheit. Although it’s normal for your pet’s body temperature to fluctuate slightly above or below the average temperature, a temperature of about 104 degrees Fahrenheit can be very dangerous and you will want to seek out help from your veterinarian.
Hot weather can also take its toll on specific breeds. If you have a brachycephalic breed such as a French bulldog or a pug, be careful when exposing them to hot weather. These breeds have a hard time breathing during excessive heat and will need to be monitored closely. Larger breeds with long hair or breeds who are bred in cooler climates also may have difficulty in hotter temperatures. Keep an eye out for excessive panting, red gums or collapsing. It’s common for dogs to be less active during hotter months, but if they are showing signs of lethargy, make sure that they are seen by a veterinary professional.
Here are common signs of heat stroke in pets:
- Excessive panting
- Red gums
- Collapsing and/or seizures
- High body temperature
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea
There are ways that you can help your pet feel more comfortable during the hotter months. Make sure that your pet has fresh and accessible water at all times. If your pet lives outside, raise their bed off of the ground so that there is circulation underneath, allowing the bed to be cooler. Arrange a fan so that your pet has access to cool air and circulation. Avoid taking your pet on walks during the hottest parts of the day. Remember to avoid hot pavement. If your pet enjoys swimming, allow them to splash or play around in pools (never leave them unattended).
A final reminder, please never leave your pet inside a hot car. Even on a cooler, 75-degree day, the temperatures inside a vehicle can reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit within 10 minutes. If you see a pet inside of a car, call animal control immediately. If possible, stay with the animal until help arrives.
Summertime can be such an enjoyable time for everyone in the family, so let’s be sure to be cautious and make sure that everyone stays safe!